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Keywords:

  • DBS;
  • posterior subthalamic area;
  • zona incerta;
  • prelemniscal radiation;
  • essential tremor

Abstract

To evaluate the posterior subthalamic area (PSA) as a target for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the treatment of essential tremor (ET). The ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus is the traditional target for DBS in the treatment of ET. Recent studies have presented beneficial effects of DBS in the PSA in the treatment of tremor. Twenty-one patients with ET were included in this study. All patients were evaluated before and 1 year after surgery, on and off stimulation, using the essential tremor rating scale (ETRS). A marked microlesional effect was noticed in 83%, in some cases obviating the need for electrical stimulation for many months. The total ETRS was reduced from 46.2 at baseline to 18.7 (60%). Item 5/6 (tremor of the upper extremity) was improved from 6.2 to 0.3 (95%), and items 11 to 14 (hand function) from 9.7 to 1.3 (87%) concerning the contralateral hand. Activities of daily living were improved by 66%. No severe complication occurred. Eight patients presented a postoperative mild dysphasia that regressed within days to weeks. DBS in the PSA resulted in a marked reduction of tremor. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society